As I mentioned in previous posts, convenience is the most important thing in Hong Kong, and this extends, naturally, to its technological innovations. Let me present to you the amazing Octopus Card. You simply add money to it, and you can use it for damn near everything in your daily life. It is a must for living in Hong Kong.
You can use the Octopus for public transport, on all buses, trains, trams and ferries, but, take note, NOT in taxis:
You can use it to buy beer (or other things, but mostly I buy beer) in the 7-11:
You can use it to get in to the horse races ($10):
You can use it on vending machines:
You can use it for public parking:
You can even use it in the health centres, pharmacies, and hospitals. In fact, when The Kid was born, we paid for the hospital stay using our Octopus card!
It’s brilliant technology. You simply tap it on the card reader machine, and it deducts the necessary amount and shows you how much you have left. No swiping, no PIN, no nothing. Just tap it and BEEP! You now have six cold beers in your bag. No more cash, no more coins. You can go DAYS without using money. It is truly brilliant. Well, until your Octopus card runs out, and you have to top it up again.
Ocotpus just announced that it was integrating its technology into smartphones, so all you’d have to do is hover your phone over the payment machine and it would deduct the amount. How cool is that?
But, it’s not quite as cool as the virtual touch-screen supermarkets in South Korea, ON THE SUBWAY. Choose your food, tap your card, jump on the train, and by the time you get home, your groceries are there. INCREDIBLE! Wonder if that will ever arrive in Hong Kong?